JMR with Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, David Coleman

Young Australians living in Geelong’s north and Bannockburn will have easier access to mental health services when and where they need it most, with additional headspace services to be established in the area.

A re-elected Morrison Government will provide $6.2 million over four years to establish a new headspace satellite in Bannockburn and to upgrade the satellite service in Corio to a headspace centre.

The headspace program provides free or low-cost youth-friendly services for young people aged 12 to 25. This includes mental health, related physical health, alcohol and other drug use, and social and vocational support.

Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said young people have been affected significantly by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and access to mental health services and support was more important than ever.

“One in four young Australians are affected by a mental illness every year, and we know many young people have been significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Minister Hunt said.

“Young people in Geelong’s north and surrounding regions will have ongoing access to headspace, which provides a welcoming place for professional help and peer support for young people at risk.”

The new headspace services in Corio and Bannockburn are in addition to the headspace sites in Geelong and Ocean Grove, and the Head to Health adult mental health centre which commenced service delivery late last year.

Senator for Victoria, Sarah Henderson said these investments would attract more mental health professionals to the region, meaning more support for young people.

“I want our young people in our region to know they are not alone,” Senator Henderson said.

“During the past 18 months, so many teenagers and young adults have struggled. By providing easy access to expert support in a safe and confidential environment, these new headspace services will play an essential role in keeping the young people in our community well. Importantly, our government’s further investments in headspace recognises the high needs of young people in the Corio electorate which have been ignored by Labor.”

Liberal candidate for Corangamite, Stephanie Asher, said the announcement would be welcomed by many young people, parents and teachers in the region.

“With a focus on early intervention, headspace works with young people at a crucial time in their lives to provide the best possible health care and support, reducing the duration and impact of mental illness and helping them achieve their full potential.

“In establishing a new service in Bannockburn, this recognises the growing needs of both Bannockburn and Inverleigh which are rapidly growing communities. This service will play an important role in helping Corangamite residents in Golden Plains to thrive in the coming years.”

Manish Patel, Liberal candidate for Corio, said that the Corio headspace centre will significantly boost access to vital health care in the area which is experiencing significant demand for services.

“The headspace centre will meet a significant need for services in Corio and Norlane, which has a large and growing youth population.

Importantly, headspace services are designed by and for young people to provide services in a way that works for them, ensuring that young people face fewer barriers to accessing holistic support for mental health, physical health, alcohol and other drug use, and social and vocational challenges.”

The Coalition has increased headspace funding by more than 250 per cent since coming to Government, from $56 million in 2012-13 to $204 million in 2021-22, and this is projected to grow even further with more than $870 million being invested into the headspace network over the next four years.

Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, David Coleman, said the headspace network is at the heart of the Government’s vision for youth primary mental health services.

“Our Government has delivered a massive expansion of headspace with 149 services operating across Australia and a further 15 fully funded. This will bring the national total to 164,” Assistant Minister Coleman said.

“We are also enhancing existing headspace services across the country and increasing the number of staff, to reduce wait times and ensure more young people can access support.”

“This is in stark contrast to Labor, who under-invested in headspace when they were last in Government, opening less than 50 new sites, with just one new centre opening in 2009 and no new centres opening in 2010 and 2011.

The new headspace services in Corio and Bannockburn will be commissioned by the Western Victoria Primary Health Network, with the new funding commencing 2022-23. The PHN will consult with the community to determine the exact locations and ensure that the services provide support in a way that meets their needs.

The Morrison Government continues to make mental health and suicide prevention a national priority and continues to drive structural reform and real change to deliver better outcomes for all Australians.

Through the 2021-22 and 2022-23 Budgets, the Government is investing a record $3 billion into the Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan to drive this reform.

As a result of these investments, funding for mental health and suicide prevention services through the Health portfolio have increased to a record $6.8 billion in 2022-23, more than doubling since 2012-13.

Unlike the Labor Party, which cut mental health funding when last in Government and has not given Australians any detail on their plans for mental health, the Morrison Government will continue to ensure that all Australians can access information, advice, counselling, or treatment, when and where they need it.

Young Australians needing support can access free services through their local headspace or online through eheadspace (https://headspace.org.au/eheadspace/).

Australians looking for support throughout the COVID-19 pandemic can access the Beyond Blue Coronavirus Wellbeing Support Service any time via telephone at 1800 512 348 or online at coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au.

Anyone experiencing distress can seek immediate advice and support through Lifeline (13 11 14), Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800), or the Government’s digital mental health gateway, Head to Health (www.headtohealth.gov.au).